When I was a young man in the early 90s and started taking golf seriously, wooden headed drivers and fairway woods were already on the way out. I remember talking to a few holdouts that swore they would never let go of their beloved Ping Eye2 woods, and one friend in particular would not let go of his Powerbilt persimmon driver, but for the most part metal heads were taking over.
Back in the day, Powerbilt was one of the biggest brands in golf. Times change and name brands come and go, but Powerbilt has endured and is still making quality golf clubs. I recently had a chance to spend some time playing the Powerbilt Air Force One DFX driver, and came away impressed.
The Air Force One (AFO) series drivers have been on the market for a few years now, and the DFX driver is new for 2014. The main feature that sets Powerbilt apart from the rest is their patented N7 – Nitrogen Charging method, where they fill the clubhead with pressurized nitrogen to reinforce the face of the club without adding any weight. Powerbilt claims the nitrogen charged DFX driver offers the fastest ball speeds and tightest dispersion possible.
The club is made of forged titanium with a titanium cup face. It has a classic shape with some aerodynamic features and deep face to reduce spin and give it a more classic look. The matte black paint job is very sharp, sporting a very clean look without glare and a simple alignment marker on top. Nothing to drastic or busy here. My driver (DFX Tour model) came fitted with the Fujikura Fuel 60x shaft, but Powerbilt makes several other shafts available as stock options and a few more as upgrades. The shaft is the engine of any club, so it’s nice to have some top quality stock shaft options available to fit every golfer. The DFX MOI driver comes only with proprietary Fujikura shaft and costs $50 less.
I spent some time at the range and played 36 holes with the Powerbilt AFO DFX Tour driver. The DFX MOI driver is also available, with a larger head and more forgiveness. The deep face and classic shape makes the driver appear smaller than the standard 460cc drivers on the market, and that’s because they are. Both drivers are actually 440cc. I was expecting the “nitrogen charged” design to produce an obnoxious noise, but thankfully it didn’t sound much different than other drivers. Solid hits flew on a mid-high trajectory and seemed to roll quite a bit, so without any launch monitor data I would estimate this is a quite low spin driver as configured with the Fujikura shaft. Ball flight with this 9.5 degree driver was on par with my current 8.5 degree club, so be sure to try them out or get a bit more loft.
I was able to work the ball both ways with the DFX driver, but it seemed easier to draw the ball in most cases. As far as distance is concerned, the driver seemed to keep pace with my current gamer (Adams Super LS). The only negative I found with this club is forgiveness. Off-center hits flew considerably lower than solid shots, and distance suffered as a result. However, the DFX MOI driver would undoubtedly offer more forgiveness than the Tour model I had, which is geared towards the lower handicap golfers. I’m not sure if the pressurized nitrogen has any effect, mostly because USGA rules limit the COR of a golf club to 0.830, but it’s a cool marketing gimmick!
Overall Powerbilt has a pretty good club on their hands, and for the price it’s tough to beat. The DFX MOI driver sells for $249 direct from Powerbilt’s web store, and the DFX Tour model starts at $299 and offers more loft and shaft options. For more information, visit their website at Powerbilt Golf